December 30, 2012
This book intertwines the fairy story of Rapunzel with that of a witch in Renaissance Italy, and that of an actual historical figure, Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de la Force, a French writer who is said to have been a great influence on Sir Walter Scott, the father of modern fiction. Charlotte collected words:
"I liked to roll words over my tongue like a lump of molten honeycomb, savouring the sweetness, the crackle, the crunch. Cerulean, azure, blue. Shadowy, somber, secret. Voluptous, sensuous, amorous. Kiss, hiss, abyss.
Some words sounded dangerous. Pagan. Tiger.
Some words seemed to shine. Crystal. Glissade.
Some words changed their meaning as I grew older. Ravishing."
Charlotte's story covers her Huguenot family's fall in fortunes and her time at the sensual and extravagant French court of the Sun-King, Louis IV. Rapunzel's story is told by a nun in a strict convent and also in the first person by the witch's victim. And the witch's story becomes rather more complex than first thought. The author incorporates a great deal of historical detail seamlessly into the story, for example, you learn about Charlotte's clothing as she plays a game of strip poker with her lover; and about the food of the day as her childhood household prepares a great banquet for the visiting King. The chapters are headed by excerpts from different poets exploring the Rapunzel story, which adds to the deliciousness of the experience. This is a great read by an accomplished Australian wordsmith and highly recommended.
December 28, 2012
December 27, 2012
Harold Fry has been retired for some months when he gets a letter from a woman he had worked with many years before. As a result, he sets off, unexpectedly, on a walking pilgrimage to the nursing home where she is dying of cancer. Harold is an unassuming quiet man who has had an unexciting life but as he walks, he gains a broader perspective:
"He had learned that it was the smallness of people that filled him with wonder and tenderness, and the loneliness of that too. The world was made up of people putting one foot in front of the other; and a life may appear ordinary simply because the person living it had done so for a long time. Harold could no longer pass a stranger without acknowledging the truth that everyone was the same, and also unique; and that this was the dilemma of being human."
This a beautiful novel, full of immersive descriptions of the countryside and gentle observations of people. How Harold and his wife deal with the emerging issues from their lives is an addictive read, and a redemptive one.
December 23, 2012
Fiona Walker is firmly in Bridget Jones territory as her characters inhabit both the world of business and that of English country homes where complicated family trees and fortunes wreak havoc with continuity of the local hunt and arts festivals. Allegra (Legs) North ran out on her fiancée, Francis, to have an affair with her married boss, Conrad. She has to return to the family home to set up a deal for her publishing company's best author, Gordon Lapsis, who she only knows via email. Along the way, she meets Byrne, a long lost Irish family connection as she tries to sort out her parents' marriage breakdown and resolve her own feelings for all the difficult and demanding men in her life. As Sir Walter Scott said in the Lay of the Last Minstrel , "What shall be the maiden's fate? Who shall be the maiden's mate?" This is a funny contemporary romance with a large & attractive cast and lovely English coastal setting. Suspend disbelief and enjoy!
December 22, 2012
This is a mystery romance and includes a clash of cultures as Grace, a lapsed Amish woman returns to her community after an act of violence against her worldly friends. Who has attacked her group? What is the secret of the Amish graveyard and will the FBI agent and the Amish barn builder be able to work together to solve the mystery while they compete for Grace's love. As the mystery unfolds and more people are victims of whoever is spreading violence in their erstwhile peaceful valley, Grace has to decide whether her future lies in the valley or the outside world. Karen Harper has set several novels in this fictional Amish community and although not Amish, she has made several research trips to Amish areas. Her portrayal of their culture feels authentic (although less immersive then Jodi Picoult's Plain Fact) and her characters are believable, apart from the fact that whilst still recovering from a wrist injury, Grace takes on a job as a cleaner. This is an enjoyable escapist read.
December 20, 2012
I found this review in an unpublished archive and thought it was worth sharing. We still have The Dog and it sounds very enjoyable - Wendy
December 18, 2012
This time of year is a great time to get into Chic-Lit. Relax, take a load off and immerse yourself in a world of girly problems and triumphs. You're bound to love one of these fab reads (I like the look of the Hindi Bindi Club myself, there in the centre). Click the title to view more details, or pop into Camden and Narellan branches. And good luck with your Christmas shopping!
December 16, 2012
Shelia O'Flanagan is one of the reliable group of Irish writers bringing you stories of people and relationships with a serious undertone but a light touch. Settle down for some pleasant entertainment as journalist Sheridan Gray takes a job on a small regional newspaper after being made redundant by a big city sports desk. Sheridan’s landlady, Nina, has a TV soap actor husband who is having a fling with his attractive young co-star. And what a pity that the devastatingly handsome man at the junior soccer match is married…. or is he?
December 15, 2012
December 12, 2012
If you love words and how writers use them, try dipping into this little book with an entertaining review of 42 poems by well-known English poets including Coleridge, Tennyson, Byron, Hughes, Larkin and Wordsworth. Starting with a short and fairly painless explanation of technical terms for rhythm, rhyme and metre, each short chapter focuses on one short poem or excerpt, analyzing it for poetical devices to understand how the poet gets his or her effect. A discussion of the historical context and influences adds layers of meaning to each one. For example, did you know that Keats and Wordsworth were dangerously radical and political? Or that many of the allusions in their poems would have been understood by their contemporaries to have political connotations? You can also just read the poems and enjoy them – revisting old friends like Coleridge's :
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
Incidentally, this last word, greenery, was invented by Coleridge in this poem! And yes, I think you should read them to the cat or any other family member willing to listen or just say them out loud to yourself!
Oh la la! Science Fiction reads are all ready to go. Grab one in your Christmas travels and travel to new worlds at the same time. You know you want to. Pick from these classics and new titles or pop in to your local branch.
December 11, 2012
December 10, 2012
Kate is nearly 40 and has taken on all the responsibility in her family, using her demanding but highly paid job to support her husband and children, her mother and help her sister's family. One day, following a series of disappointments and stresses, she leaves the family home in a bit of a fugue state and finds herself seeking refuge with an old friend in Rome, rediscovering her love of art history and trying to find out where she lost her own self along the way. Her husband and children deal with the shock of her absence, once they notice it, in their own ways. An entertaining story of how relationships get mired in roles that grow to overshadow the inner needs and desires of the people who start out whole but end up transformed into shadow people they don't want to be. How will Tess find out who and where she wants to be?
Bert worked on the land in many varied jobs, learning a range of skills that he put to use all through his life. His account of his experience at Gallipoli is moving and educational and really gives the reader an honest picture of what it was like. The second half of the book has a very different feel to the first half, which is probably because of the romantic way we all feel about our childhood and his recount of his adult years is more “matter of fact”.
I’m glad I finally read this book because it is an Australian classic with insight into Australia’s history.
December 08, 2012
We begin with Grace, meeting with her solicitors..
"We'd better present her as sane….They laughed and poked their cigarettes in the air and talked about me as if I wasn't there as we walked back to the courthouse where, along with two other women… I was to stand trial for my life."
Part story of the trial and part flashback to the events that take place as passengers and crew from a sunken ship try to stay alive in a lifeboat adrift for many days, The Lifeboat brings us into the mind of Grace. We learn her back-story, just married to wealthy Henry who has surely not survived the sinking. Grace is a survivor but will this current trial be too much for her to overcome? Beautifully evocative writing details the lifeboat's occupants grappling with religion, morality and ethics as life and death choices need to be made on the open ocean. I didn't expect to be as gripped by the story as I was, nor as fascinated by the inevitable 'What would I do?' speculations the book engenders.
December 06, 2012
A rich family in a large English country house prepare for a birthday celebration for the daughter of the house, Emerald. Sadie Jones gradually reveals the family's uncertainties and passions. They are not Old County but newly arrived and their grip on the house, which they all love in varying ways, is under threat. A slightly otherworldly collection of visitors arrives, including a gaggle of third class passengers from a local train wreck, like a Greek chorus, and a strange and mesmerizing figure in Charlie Traversham-Beechers. Emerald goes to greet them…
"And as she stopped, there came, of a sudden, a hard gust of wind behind her, striking her through her dress, forcefully blowing all thoughts of convention from her mind. The heavy front door was closed, but the chill struck Emerald's back, finding its way through the jamb and hinges – through the solid wood itself, it seemed, as a cold wave will sometime catch one as one leaves the sea and knock the breath from one's body."
These uninvited guests completely transform the expected weekend and provide a cathartic turning point for future family relations. I particularly liked Imogen, known as Smudge, the youngest daughter, much younger than her brother and sister, and her solution to getting realism into her animal portraits on the wall of her upstairs bedroom. The older children undergo several shocks as they grow to understand some of the adult figures around them and take some tentative steps towards their own futures. They learn that it takes a crisis to understand how strong family bonds can be.
December 04, 2012
This novel starts out small and builds layers of complexity. We meet Max’s imaginary friend Budo and learn about Max’s life. Going to school, dealing with parents, teachers and other children and growing-up . One of my favourite parts of the book is the characterization of several teachers - the good and the ordinary. I love Mrs Gosk, who is a teacher who really teaches….
“They talk to kids in their regular voices and say things they would say in their own living rooms. Their bulletin boards are always a little raggedy and their desks are always a little messy and their libraries are always a little out of order, but kids love them because they talk about real things in real voices and they always tell the truth”.
Another gem is the interaction between a varied bunch of other imaginary friends. Each is imagined with characteristics specifically created to help their human friend so communication, brains and movement are all up for grabs in their creation. So, some can speak and go through walls and some can't move at all. Budo is unique in being very nearly fully formed in a human image. This is a story of love, loss and bravery as an extraordinary thing happens to Max and Budo tries to save him. I was swept away by this author's ability to create a whole reality of the imaginary friend and his masterful ability to evoke emotion.
This is not your straight forward story complicated as it is by indigenous Australian repatriation requests for ancient bones, druid dreaming, a trans gender bishop and a murder mystery centred on a race horse training stable. That all sounds complicated but we are in the hands of a very good story teller, so relax and enjoy the ride! The book characterized by wry humour . Dr Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist, has a daughter, the result we learn of a brief affair with a policeman.
“You’re very brave,’ someone said to her recently, ‘to bring her up on your own.” What choice did I have? Ruth wanted to say. Expose her on a hillside? Leave her to be adopted by a friendly wolf pack? But she did have a choice, she recognises, right at the beginning. A choice she supports. It was just that when it came to it she realised she wanted a baby very badly indeed. And, if she never sees him again, she will always be grateful to Nelson for this.
She does indeed see Nelson as they try to solve two mysterious deaths and a parallel investigation into a drug smuggling ring. This is the fourth in a series based on Ruth Galloway but I hadn't read the earlier ones and the story stands up as a read alone. It contains many twists and turns, lots of highly idiosyncratic individuals and some evocative scene setting. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
We were passing the cooking shelves at the library today and had to snap this one! What an unusual mix of books on display- it really demonstrates the vast range of food and cooking books available for loan at your library. Click one to view more details, and as always, we'd love to see you in person at our Camden and Narellan branches.
November 26, 2012
Fancy a read from your local area? The books below focus on the history, culture, society, challenges and triumphs of the Camden LGA. Why not get acquainted with your local area a little more and try one of these great reads available at Camden and Narellan branches.
November 22, 2012
Some great bios up here! Why not click one for more details or come in to Camden and Narellan for your celeb/sport/interest fix.
November 20, 2012
We meet Kate Price as a raw new war correspondent and travel with her as she develops her skills and resilience, witnessing ever more horrific events. She is at Sarajevo and Rwanda to name but two. The tide of media ebbs and flows around the successive war zones and the same journalists and photographers connect and separate endlessly in the waves. How do you build an emotional life when you are in the midst of so much chaos and suffering? We need these events to be witnessed but at what cost? This is a powerful and heartbreaking story.
November 16, 2012
November 13, 2012
“The inmates at Pentonville prison were fond of inking themselves with fake Russian gang symbols, most of them poorly copied and misspelled. The one on Mac’s arm was actually a produce stamp for a soviet state farm…he.. was advertising turnips.” Mac is a pawn in the game of Mr Fox who may be just a social misfit with a penchant for collecting personal details, or he may be a serial killer or he may be the Horned God haunting the site of a pagan temple. Weaving London’s many layered history into another engaging mystery, Fowler welcomes us to the eclectic, eccentric world of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. Be warned, there are more in the series and you won’t be able to stop at one book!
November 12, 2012
November 11, 2012
Assistant DA, Andy Barber is called to a murder scene of a boy who was stabbed on his way to school. It’s a small town – people know each other. Andy is suspended and his teenage son, Jacob, is charged with murder. The family is isolated as the legal process grinds on. During the trial, Andy is faced with seeing the prosecution unfold from the defendant’s perspective and this is one of the strongest elements of this suspenseful book. The trial might find Jacob guilty. The more horrific question is… what if he is guilty?
November 09, 2012
Every now and then you find a new author with an extraordinary voice and heart, who possesses the gift of putting complex ideas into simple language. Judith is 10 years old and grappling with how the world works. She lives a faith based life with her emotionally distant father and although intelligent is socially unaware and excluded. Isolated and lonely, she makes a miniature pretend world in her room and weaves stories about it. Through the power of her imagination and her faith, she causes events in her imaginary world which begin to affect the real world. But with power comes responsibility and who can she turn to for help?
November 05, 2012
Stalked: Every Woman's Nightmare by Chris Smith
Scattered: The Inside Story of Ice in Australia by Malcolm Knox
Sold by Tess Stevens
Saving Cinnamon by Christine Sullivan
The Words Inside by Emmah Money
Live without Limits by Nick Vujicic
Inconceivable by Carolyn and Sean Savage
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
She by H.R. Haggard
Bleed for Me by Michael Robotham
November 02, 2012
October 30, 2012
This enchanting look at historical depictions of Australian moths and butterflies uses resources held by the National Library of Australia. Nine artists are featured ranging from 1770s to the present. Some pictures are for scientific study and some are for pleasure. Each artist has their own chapter, a short biography and a discussion of their work. Find out about the early history of Duntroon, fall in love with the Spotted Jezebel, or just enjoy the lovely pictures. Michael Braby is a leading authority on the topic but the book is aimed at general interest level.
October 29, 2012
More great magazines available at your library. Click the title to view more details.
October 26, 2012
The Thirty Six is a wonderful story due to the positivity of Siegrich in spite of the appalling nature of what he endured. I couldn’t stop reading it, fascinated by the insanity of it all and disgusted by the fact that it was a true story. Mr Siegrich I have a lot of respect for, and I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about what people are capable of, in both survival and cruelty. This is a profoundly affecting book. I am still upset reflecting on the fact that these things happened to such a lovely gentleman, and so many others did not make it out of the death camps.
October 25, 2012
I'm not suggesting you take us literally- but if you've ever forked out for a some magazine fun on a bus ride, you'll appreciate that you can simply pop in to your local library and grab the goss for free. Here are some of our titles- we'll post more over the next month. Just click to find out more about our holdings.
October 23, 2012
An Italian murder mystery to rival the best atmospheric crime stories coming out of Scandinavia. A grim and brooding remote castle houses a collection of artists on retreat. The director of the retreat is killed in a car accident, or is it murder? Sandro Cellini, a former police officer now dealing with life as a PI enlists the help of a sensitive young woman working at the castle to solve the riddle of the director’s life and death. The emotions and egos swirl like the falling snowflakes as the soft snow blankets the countryside and covers up the clues. The investigators learn as much about themselves as they do about their suspects and the truth is finally laid bare. Recommended reading.
October 22, 2012
Prefer your fiction in bite-size portions? There's nothing like a good short story to pour over in your coffee break or just before bed. Try these short story compilations available at Camden and Narellan libraries.
The Best Australian Stories 2011
October 18, 2012
Looking for some great large print titles? Try this digital Shelf! Available at Narellan library- just click the title to go to the catalogue and reserve.
October 15, 2012
Becoming Scarlett – Ciara Geraghty
About Last Night- Adele Parks
The Thirty Six – Siegmund Siegreich
Wolfsbane – Andrea Cremer
Clockwork Prince - Cassandra Clare
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
The Thread by Victoria Hislop
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Legacy by Danielle Steel
October 11, 2012
Camden Library routinely displays new fiction on their special new fiction display in the fiction area. Take a browse or select some of these books by clicking the title.
October 08, 2012
October 04, 2012
There's something a little bit enchanting about these book niches at Camden and Narellan libraries. But for sure, the one's are Camden are best, peeping out from the shelves with little gems on offer. We always put really interesting non-fiction here- bits and pieces that would surprise and compel any reader. Why not take a look at these? Click the books to see more (or pop in to Camden!)
October 01, 2012
This month's theme is Explore! The National Year of Reading initiative is focusing on all sorts of adventurous, interesting and fascinating books this month to lure you out into the wide world. We've compiled a few great reads here about different places and times, new landscapes and mindsets, but why not suggest your own? Comment in the box below.
September 24, 2012
September 21, 2012
Increasingly authors are covering multiple target groups, as the boundaries about 'what is proper reading' for various ages dissapears. This is great news, as there are plenty of fantastic youth fiction reads that everyone should see. Why not click try some above? Or check out the youth section at Camden and Narellan libraries.
September 17, 2012
September 14, 2012
Some lovely romantic novels available at Camden and Narellan libraries. Pop in to your local branch to browse, use the catalogue or click on one of the titles above to place a reserve!
September 11, 2012
September 10, 2012
By John Berendt.
This is one of my all time favourite books. It is classified as non-fiction, but it reads like a novel. It tells the story of John Kelso, a New York writer who goes to Savannah on a spur of the moment holiday, but gets caught up in the eccentric characters of the hauntingly beautiful city, and decides to stay a bit longer, to get to know them a bit better. These true life characters include a drag queen named Chablis, a man who walks an invisable dog every day, and a voodoo queen named Minerva, just to name a few. While in Savannah, Kelso meets an antiques dealer called Jim Williams who gets arrested for murder. Kelso, along with everyone else in the city, closely follows the 4 murder trials to see if Jim killed Billy, or if it was self defence. This book is based on real life events and has a little bit of everything, comedy, tragedy, romance etc, and is sure to appeal to everyone.
To check out this book on our catalogue, click here.
September 07, 2012
These juicy chiclit titles are available at Camden and Narellan libraries. Click the titles to get more details.
September 04, 2012
Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews (Shapeshifters, werewolves)
Jane and the Damned by Janet Mullany (Jane Austen and vampires)
The Blood Countess by Tara Moss (Vampires)
Arcane Circle by Linda Robertson (Witches)
Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris (Vampires)
Fanged & Fabulous by Michelle Rowan (Vampires)
What about you? Any good paranormal romances to recommend? Comment below!
August 28, 2012
August 21, 2012
All Shots by Susan Conant
August 14, 2012
The City and the City by China Mielville
August 07, 2012
The Sister's Brothers by Paul DeWitt
Dynamite Daze by Ethan Flagg
Long Ride to Yuma by Will Keen
Sharpshooter McClure by I.J. Parnham
Take Me to Texas by Ryan Bodie
The Branded Man by J. D. Ryder
To Die This Day by Clint Ryker
Rustler's Range by Billy Hall
Kansas Fast Gun by Arthur Kent
Border Fury by Corba Sunman